Monday, October 8, 2007

To Curse or Not To Curse

WBAI, a peace and justice radio station in New York City, self-censored earlier this year when they determined they could not risk airing Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem "Howl" on its 50th anniversary. They weren't worried about listener complaint or backlash from a conservative audience. They were concerned about the exorbitant FCC fines for swearing on the air.

The New York Times ran a very interesting editorial in today's paper about this radio station's act, and put it into the larger context of swearing in radio and television. Personally, I feel that the FCC should be putting swearing into a larger context -- if the swear is in an obviously literary work, like Ginsberg's amazing poem, then it should relax. If someone is swearing out of a desire to shock or offend, then fine the *^&%! out of them.

I think this is especially funny, since a few weeks ago I lectured on Howl's original censorship when it was published, 50 years earlier.


Jo said...

Here it would only matter the time of day.......after the 8 pm watershed you can hear just about anything. I agree with you re Howl.

Paul said...


Holly said...

It is ridiculously sad how, in reality, the world's view of censorship (as well as an array of other topics) is not progressing, but either staying stagnant or, in fact, peddling back. We see it all the time and while we shouldn't be surprised by this news, we are, and will continue to be for decades because we refuse to believe that an entire population of people can still be in the same place and are resisting to move forward.